Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Canadiens

Some of you with sharper eyes may have noticed that I didn’t write a recap of Sunday’s game against the Penguins, so here it is: PBBBBBTTTTTTT. And feel free to quote me on that.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to...

Who: Your Nation’s Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens
Where: Centre Bell
1260 Rue De La Gauchetière O.
Montreal, Québec, H3B 5E8
When: Tuesday, February 20, 7:30 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN, WTNT 570 AM; RDS, CJAD 800 AM

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Washington Times
Montreal Gazette

2006-07 Standings: Caps 23-27-9, 55 points – 5th in division, 14th in conference; Canadiens 30-25-6, 66 points – 4th in division, 9th in conference

2006-07 Season Series: Caps 1-1-0, Montreal 1-1-0

Last Game: January 4 in Washington, Caps won 4-1
- As rare as it is, the Caps managed to put together a very good game through all 60 minutes, exacting a bit of revenge for a sloppy loss against the same team just a week before.
- Craig Rivet’s power play goal midway through the first period gave Montreal the early lead as the Caps appeared sluggish to start the game, but it would be the only Habs goal as the Caps and Olie shut down Montreal’s offense.
- The Caps managed to kill off a 4-minute high-sticking penalty on Alex Ovechkin coming with only a minute remaining in the first, despite Montreal’s top-ranked power play.
- The game was later mired by controversy, as a power play strike was waved off after the referee thought Koivu had interfered with Olie. Both Saku and Olie later said they felt the call was incorrect and was probably the turning point, as the goal would have made it a tied game. Instead the Caps remained in the lead and went on to score 2 goals in the 4 on 4 that followed.
- Zubrus’ two goals and Semin’s two goals sandwiched around a Nycholat marker to round out the scoring for the Caps, and Semin’s first goal would chase Huet from the net early in the second. The multi-point night continued as Nycholat also added an assist, Eminger had two assists, and Ovechkin had three.
- It’s not unusual to see Ovechkin getting a lot of shots in a game, and this was no exception, as he fired a game-high 7 shots at Montreal’s net. What is unusual is the next three on the list – Pettinger with 6 shots, Boyd Gordon with 5, and Nycholat with 4. Zubrus, incidentally, continued his amazing shooting percentage, going 2 for 2 on the night. Amazing what hitting the net only 30% of the time will do...

Things to Look for:
- Nothing really seems to be going right for this team right now. They play well, they lose. They play badly, they definitely lose. I don’t know what the cure is (and if I did I’m betting I’d have a job offer from the Caps faster than you can say Ovechkin) but you can bet that the mood in the locker room is not a happy one right now.
- But wait, there’s good news! Nothing is going right for the Habs, either! Okay, that’s not so much good news for me, since I’m actually a fan of both these teams. It’s true, though – the Habs finally snapped out of a season high 6 game losing streak with a win over powerhouse Columbus but continue to be mired in a slump that suddenly finds them outside the playoffs for the first time in months. Yup...great. Excuse me while I hurl myself out a window.
- I take solace in the fact that at least one of my teams has to come away with a win tonight. That much I can predict with 100% certainty – one of these teams MUST win this game. Whether it will be the Caps and whether it will be a good game is something completely different. I’ll go with, meh, 50% certainty on those.
- Johnson continues to play well and I have nothing but faith that he will pull out another good performance against the Habs. The question really is how well will the Caps play in front of him, and if we’re judging from past occasions, I’d say it doesn’t look good. Once again, though, the paths of these two teams become oddly entwined as Habs star goalie Cristobal Huet is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a hamstring, so Montreal will also be relying on a backup and a callup for the rest of the way.

...now where’s that window?

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex “Chin Up, Young Person” Ovechkin, 9-Dainius “Suddenly Hot” Zubrus, 17-Chris “O Captain, My Captain” Clark
28-Alexander “Clank” Semin, 21-Brooks “Scrappy Doo” Laich, 14-Eric “Bright Light” Fehr
18-Matt “Scoring Change” Pettinger, 15-Boyd “Killer” Gordon, 10-Matt “...Clymer?” Bradley 87-Donald “Keeping ‘Em On” Brashear, 16-“What About” Brian Sutherby, 20-Richard “One Shot” Zednik

23-Milan “Me Like” Jurcina, 26-Shaone “Mo” Morrisonn
2-Brian “Head On (Apply Directly to the Forehead)” Pothier, 55-Jeff “Point Shot” Schultz
4-John “...Eminger?” Erskine, 6-Jamie “the Go-To Interview” Heward

1-Brent “Stepping Up” Johnson, 35-Frederick “Splinter Butt” Cassivi

Possible Lineup for the Canadiens
21-Chris “Yalie” Higgins, 11-Saku “Goalie Interference” Koivu, 73-Michael “Newfie” Ryder
15-Sergei “Chunky Monkey” Samsonov, 35-Tomas “the Tank Engine” Plekanec, 20-Mike “Desert Dog” Johnson
84-Guillaume “Take That, Patrick Roy” Latendresse, 14-Radek “Onomatopoeia” Bonk, 42-Alexander “Is a Popular Name” Perezhogin
62-Duncan “the Bulldog” Milroy, 40-Maxim “Overdrive” Lapierre, 22-Steve “It’s Not Tan, It’s” Begin

25-Mathieu “Marc and Luc” Dandenault, 51-Francis “Frank the Tank” Bouillon
8-Mike “the Steamroller” Komisarek, 79-Andrei “Ovie’s Frenemy” Markov
32-Mark “Swiss Army Knife” Streit, 44-Sheldon “Que Sera” Souray

30-David “the Swiss Alp” Aebischer, 41-Jaroslav “the Backup’s Backup” Halak


Victor said...

Pretty astute comment on the flightless birds game, kid.

Matthew Macaskill said...

Ouuu, A caps blog. Sorry, but the Habs HAVE to take this won, hope you don't mind.

I'll be routing for Zednik though.

Tyler said...

I was looking forward to more info than just the comments in the last post... Go Flightless Birds!!

CapsChick said...

Victor: Yeah, I didn't think it needed more description than that...

Matthew: If it were against any other team, you know I'd be on your side. For tonight, however, I must say GO CAPS GO! This game is quite the battle of the titans, though, isn't it? ;)

Tyler: Hmmm...I thought my comments were perfectly suited to that game ;) Don't worry, I'll be at the last Caps-Pens game of the season and I'm sure I can find plenty to say about that one, just for you!

Robert L said...

And the backup's backup will lead his team to victory! No bets this time!

CapsChick said...

Aww...you're no fun! That was my good luck charm last time!

Matthew Macaskill said...


It was a good game, the Caps worked at a comeback, but Montreal is playing much better lately, hehe.

What's happening to Ovechkin though? *le sigh*

Tyler said...

I'll be at that Pens game too. ;)